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CoxHealth CEO calls on government to prevent PPE price gouging

Springfield (MO) KYTV logo Springfield (MO) KYTV 4/10/2020 Abbey Taylor
© Provided by Springfield (MO) KYTV

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Doctors and nurses can't get enough PPE right now, and that's not a shock to Cox Health President and CEO Steve Edwards.

"It's a concern for every hospital because we're all going through this at the same time," said CoxHealth President and CEO Steve Edwards.

What is surprising is how much that gear now costs.

"If there's a ten percent increase that's price gouging," said Edwards. "We're seeing an enormous increase for what is in my mind life preserving and life protecting."

For example the CoxHealth CEO said his hospital bought 100,000 N-95 masks for $6.50 each. Before they were $0.62 each. Making matters worse: 30,000 of them were worthless.

"We did fit testing. The mask had design errors and didn't work," said Edwards.

He's now calling out the government to help out those caring for COVID-19 patients.

Missouri Senator Josh Hawley said that help is coming through the Defense Production Act.

"It's a federal law that gives the federal government the ability to say to industry we need you to produce it now and the federal government buys it and distributes it," said Senator Josh Hawley.

Edwards is hoping that makes a difference because they'll continue buying supplies to keep their employees and patients safe.

"We've got states fighting states for PPE," said Edwards. "If there's a time for government intervention it is now. This could have the chance of fatalities if we don't manage it."

Edwards said the help from the community to provide gowns and masks has helped them. Justice Furniture and Bedding in Lebanon is providing 3,000 gowns daily to CoxHealth.

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